Opus | 2021 February

February 2021 OpusIN THIS ISSUE

News at CCM

To My Twelve-Year-Old Self, by Joachim Laurent

Lockdown Mandolin Learning: CCM Cello Instructor Stephen Marotto

In the Community

Faith Clark and CCM Instructor Justin Meyer


Congratulations to CCM students accepted into the MMEA District Orchestra!

The Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) – Eastern District recently held its auditions for their District Orchestra. In addition to performing their prepared piece, students are evaluated on their scales and ability to sight-read. Accepted students gain opportunities to rehearse and perform challenging works with guest conductors.

Four CCM students diligently practiced, auditioned, and were accepted into the Eastern District Orchestra.

Our congratulations to these exceptional students:

Bass student Faith Marie Clark (instructor: Justin Meyer)

Viola student Grady Flinn (instructor: Susan Gottschalk)

Violin student Ayra Solur (instructor: Angel Valchinov)

Violin student LiSun Tormey (instructor: Hyunjung Kim)

Pancake Faculty Virtual Breakfast

January, the Official Pancake Month at CCM!

To show appreciation to our faculty, we recently sent them what they would need to create scrumptious, fluffy pancakes. We celebratedCCM Instructor Masako Yotsugi together at our virtual breakfast meeting and thanked them for the great work they do every week. Our extremely talented, dedicated, and innovative faculty keep music education alive. Bravo team!

January was also Practice for Pancakes for students, and many took on the challenge. Congratulations to everyone who completed the challenge and practiced for 30 days in order to get their special pancake package. 

Are you a CCM friend yet? 

Join us on Instagram and Facebook to be the first to learn CCM news and more! See what music videos we like, photos we post, practice tips and articles we suggest, and new music in the music world. Be sure to bookmark the CCM Blog, so you never miss a new post.


Joachim Laurent with CCM Faculty Member Chieko LoyTO MY TWELVE-YEAR-OLD SELF, BY JOACHIM LAURENT

In January 2016, we wrote an Opus article featuring a 12-year-old CCM student, Joachim Laurent. We learned about his music theory studies and participation in the Royal Conservatory Music Program,A Young Joachim Laurent a rigorous assessment program, his commitment to practicing an hour each day.  At that point, Joachim had already been learning music and studying the piano with his instructor, Chieko Loy, for six years.

Joachim is now a senior at Concord Carlisle High School, and this fall, he will be attending the University of Chicago. As a student studying at CCM for twelve years, we wondered what he would tell his younger 12-year-old self-featured in the 2016 article. 

To My Twelve-Year-Old Self,

     Stick with it. The privilege of learning music is one of the greatest gifts a kid can receive. In the next several years, piano will play a vital role in your life. It will be an outlet for your creativity, a test of your patience and intellect, and a means of emotional expression. Through it all, learning the piano will remind you of how far you've come and how far you have to go.

     You're probably taking those Royal Conservatory exams about now, and while they might be scary and stressful, what you're going to learn from them is invaluable—got stage fright? Shaky fingers, sweaty palms? Yeah, I've been there. Keep taking every opportunity to perform, and that feeling will all but go away. The technical skills you'll learn will do wonders when pieces get more complicated, and, as for the theory, I know it can be tedious, but it's going to help you break down new music and learn it faster and more efficiently.

     Oh, and recitals–keep doing them! You're going to start getting busy with Royal Conservatory, schoolwork, and other competitions, but be sure to make time to show your fellow students what you've been working on–the applause is pretty great, too.

     As you get older, your academic workload will increase, and your sports schedule will become more intense. Combined with additional extracurricular obligations, finding the time to practice piano may become difficult. It's here that effective time management and efficiency come into play, and trust me, you'll be better for it. But if you're ever feeling too overwhelmed and can't find the time, don't sweat it–it's not the end of the world, and believe me, you should always prioritize a good night's sleep.

     And another important thing–play what you like. While you must expose yourself to the motoric rhythms* of Bach and the classical elegance of Mozart, don't be afraid to explore a wide variety of music genres–I have a feeling that you'll develop a particular taste for Chopin. In general, learning music and the piano is a way to push yourself, but it should remain, first and foremost, something you enjoy. If you ever truly find what you're doing isn't working, try something new, shake it up, and rediscover that spark.  Joachim with CCM Faculty Member Chieko Loy

  And don't forget Chieko! She's been with you on this journey for over a decade now and is the best teacher you could ask for. From time to time, make sure you tell her how much you appreciate her, and remember to thank her after every lesson!

Your Future Self

*Motoric Rhythm, in music, is a 20th-century term for rhythm-based on one specific note value (quavers, for example), usually to sustain or generate energy. Ostinatos (repeating melodic or rhythmic figures) often form motoric rhythms, as in Russian American composer Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (1913).

Opus, January 2016 article


CCM Instructor Stephen Marotto


Have you been itching to switch up your routine after these long months at home? Why not follow CCM Cello Faculty Steve Marotto’s lead and learn a brand-new instrument? In Steve’s case, the mandolin. Like so many professional musicians, Steve’s performance career was put on hold by the pandemic. Learning the mandolin has provided a fun, engaging challenge and first-hand experience with new music genres. 

Trying it out was an easy decision - Steve had an inexpensive mandolin lying around his house. As both the mandolin and cello are tuned in fifths, many finger patterns and chord shapes in the left hand translated to his new instrument.  However, as Steve explains, there is “zero overlap with the right hand.” Steve, used to bowing the cello, now had to learn to pick the mandolin. For five months, Steve would head to the park across the street from his home, find an isolated spot, and practice.

The mandolin is Steve’s third instrument. He started his musical journey with piano lessons as a child. After adding cello lessons a year later, Steve realized that he enjoyed the cello so much more. Steve continued piano lessons through middle school, though, and took the required piano courses as an undergraduate. He affirms that learning piano helped him think about harmony differently. And, any professional musician needs to know the instrument.

Steve loves music theory and took many theory courses in college, but translating that knowledge to the mandolin presented a challenge. To progress, he began lessons with CCM Mandolin Faculty Maxfield Anderson. Max teaches him the oral tradition of bluegrass and instrument-specific technique (like picking). It’s been exciting to play an instrument with a different voice and a different role in a group. The mandolin can “almost function as a percussive instrument,” Steve says, likening chop chords to a snare drum that marks the beat.

While Steve started out learning the mandolin as a fun quarantine hobby, he’s interested in taking it further. He’d love to be able to play in string bands when the music scene comes back. Steve explains that cellos are uncommon in these bands – their lower register is covered by the bass and their higher register by the banjo and guitar. The mandolin is a key member of such groups (along with banjo, guitar, bass, and fiddle), providing melody and rhythm guitar functions. Also, there is a “wealth of classical” mandolin music that Steve enjoys. He’s currently working on a piece by Raffaele Calace, “the Paganini of the mandolin.” Moonlighting as a classical mandolinist is another goal of his. And as for that cheap mandolin? Steve bought a new one and has a 1918 mandolin on loan. 



Concord Chamber Music Society

Make Your Lunch-Hour an Educational and Socially Interactive One for 3 Weeks

Beginning February 12th, the Concord Chamber Music Society (CCMS) is hosting Concert and Conversation—an hour-long virtual presentation of music and discussion at 12:00 pm on three Friday afternoons. Featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and pianist Yehudi Wyner and CCMS Director and violinist Wendy Putnam, and WGBH producer Brian McCreath. Concert and Conversation will be presented to the public, free of charge, via YouTube premieres.

“Concert and Conversation” tells the remarkable story, through music and words, of composer Yehudi Wyner’s musical journey and artists who champion his work and offers personal perspectives on artistic creation, collaboration, and the works of other composers.

Each 15-20-minute video segment will be followed by an interactive YouTube live session presented by Ms. Putnam, in which she will provide background information about the music and performers and answer questions. Selections will be broadcast at a future date on “In Concert,” the Sunday night series on CRB Classical 99.5.

For more details, please visit the CCMS YouTube channel.

Give Monthly